- Measurement of essential and toxic elements including lead, cadmium and uranium
- Analysis by ICP-MS
Whole blood element analysis is a method that assists in determining deficiencies, excesses and imbalances of essential elements as well as recent or ongoing exposure to specific toxic elements. Whole blood analysis measures total element levels that circulate extracellularly (serum/plasma) as well as intracellularly (function within blood cells). Therefore, additional testing of blood fractions or other tissues may be necessary for differential diagnosis of specific imbalances, or to assess specific dysfunctions of assimilation, transport, retention or excretion of elements.
The Collective Blood Assessment
Whole blood analysis is an excellent single test for measuring the levels of both extracellular and intracellular elements. Extracellular elements function or are transported in serum/plasma. Intracellular elements are those that have specific functions within circulating blood cells.
Assessment of element levels in whole blood is a valuable tool for:
- Identification of dietary adequacy
- Gastrointestinal integrity
- Renal and endocrine functions
- Excess or deficiency conditions
- Additional testing of specific blood fractions or other tissues may be necessary to help identify the specific mechanisms responsible for abnormal levels of elements, such mechanisms include dysfunctions in assimilation, transport, retention or excretion of elements (intra/extra-cellular)
- Overall toxic element assessment
Monitoring Detoxification Programs
Whole blood element analysis should be performed prior to and intermittently throughout the course of metal detoxification therapy. Such monitoring of essential element status is necessary to identify needs for and effectiveness of supplementation. Replacement and maintenance of adequate levels of essential nutrients can markedly reduce the apparent adverse “side effects” associated with the use of detoxification agents, perse, and the general effects of mobilisation of toxic elements.
Things to Note
As for urine element analysis of toxic elements without provocation, blood analysis does not accurately reflect total body metal burden. For example, blood lead levels appear to peak 4 to 5 hours after exposure and then decrease exponentially with a half-life of about 27 days. Thus, levels of lead in blood are limited to detection of only very recent or ongoing exposure. The significance of accurately determining body lead burden is illustrated by recent research that clearly incriminates the adverse effects of very low levels of lead in learning and behavioural abnormalities. A safe level of lead in the body has not been determined.
It is important to note that some disease conditions can result in confusing or contrary levels of elements in blood. For example, Wilson’s disease is typically associated with low blood copper levels despite excessive accumulation of copper in the liver and kidneys.